Life is tough. And sometimes it feels like the punches just keep coming—loneliness, depression, fear. Those are my current punches. Even as I’ve reached out to doctors, family, and friends, everything feels like Band-Aids over bullet wounds; covered up, but not really healing.
As this past general conference weekend grew closer, I prayed to know how I could overcome these feelings and work through this pain. As the speakers testified of God’s perfect plan, His love for me, the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and the power of my own agency, I could feel the Spirit working to soften my heart. Now, as I listened to Elder Matthew L. Carpenter of the Seventy speak in the closing session, the question the Savior wanted to pierce my heart was asked: “Wilt thou be made whole?”
Would I let myself be made whole?
Elder Carpenter shared the story of a man who was sick for 38 years. 38 years! When the Savior saw him and asked if he would be healed, the man was confused and said that there was no one around to help him. The Savior answered, “Rise, take up thy bed, and walk” (John 5:8). Then Elder Carpenter said, “Please note the juxtaposition of how long this man suffered on his own—38 years—and how quickly the healing came once the Savior became involved. The healing was ‘immediate.’”1
I could feel the tears welling. I felt impressions coming to my mind and heart. I had sought out temporal help, but my spiritual seeking had been lacking. As I pondered on the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, I thought to myself, Do I really believe that He can make me whole? Do I believe that He felt my pain and sorrow and suffering? Do I believe that He has the power to heal me so completely that no scars remain?
I tried to imagine what I would feel like if I continued to let these negative feelings overwhelm me for 38 more years. It was exhausting. Why was I choosing this pain? Why wasn’t I seeking the Savior’s help in finding joy?
At that moment Elder Carpenter counseled, “It is never a good idea to procrastinate your repentance.” I knew I needed to change, and that’s what repentance is: to change, with the help and mercy and grace of the Savior, both my mind and heart.
“We must not delay! We must act now!” said Elder Carpenter, “Act now so that spiritual paralysis does not prevent your eternal progression.” The Spirit helped me to know what the next steps toward my spiritual progression and healing were. As I wrote down these impressions, my heart was full of gratitude to my Savior. For His atoning sacrifice. For His redeeming love. For His patience and long-suffering toward me.
I know that I can be made whole. Because of Him.